Mark Clairmont |

GRAVENHURST — If someone is off work, not at school or just off today, don’t be surprised.

They may be taking a mental health day, which some union contracts now wisely recognize.

Because today, Oct. 10 is World Mental Health Day; it’s also part of mental health week.

And there’s a lot of talk about mental health these days.

Governments are all over it — if not candidates.

Locally, mental health has taken a huge toll on young and old in the community.

And efforts are underway to address the issue.

Facts on Mental Health:

  • Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.
  • In any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness.
  • Mental illness affects people of all ages, education, income levels, and cultures.
  • Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives.
  • About 1% of Canadians will experience bipolar disorder (or “manic depression”).

You can find more information by visiting:

Helping Someone Who is Depressed

If you know someone who is depressed, it affects you too. The first and most important thing you can do to help a friend or relative who has depression is to help him or her get an appropriate diagnosis and treatment. You may need to make an appointment on behalf of your friend or relative and go with him or her to see the doctor. Encourage him or her to stay in treatment, or to seek different treatment if no improvement occurs after six to eight weeks.

To help a friend or relative:

Offer emotional support, understanding, patience and encouragement.

Engage your friend or relative in conversation, and listen carefully.

Never disparage feelings your friend or relative expresses, but point out realities and offer hope.

Never ignore comments about suicide, and report them to your friend’s or relative’s therapist or doctor.

Invite your friend or relative out for walks, outings and other activities. Keep trying if he or she declines, but don’t push him or her to take on too much too soon. Although diversions and company are needed, too many demands may increase feelings of failure.

Remind your friend or relative that with time and treatment, the depression will lift.

Say no more …
Just a few basic tips to help your general mental well being. Always seek more professional help if you’re having more than just a bad day.

Email Mark Clairmont at


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